Thai, Malaysian leaders say Thaksin involved in peace process

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 – Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has played a role in an agreement towards peace process, signed between Thailand and a Muslim insurgent group in the Malaysian capital on Thursday, according to Thai and Malaysian prime ministers.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak expressed his appreciation to Mr Thaksin for pushing ahead with negotiations and said he hoped it will lead to an enduring resolution and peace in Thailand’s ethnic Malay Muslim-majority far South.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra confirmed her brother’s involvement which led to the signing of an agreement between Thailand and a southern militant group in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

“Like all Thai citizens, he (Mr Thaksin) wants peace in his home country. Please don’t misinterpret his intention,” she said. “This is a national agenda which everyone should have a hand in solving. Don’t implicate it to politics.”

Thai National Security Council secretary general Paradorn Pattanatabutr signed an agreement with the liaison chief of the Barisan  Revolusi Nasional (BRN) militant group in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday as an overture to the peace process.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck met with Mr Najib later in the day at the Malaysian government headquarters of Putrajaya.

She told a news conference after the meeting that Thailand was willing to hold talks with all parties involved to resolve the unrest in southern border provinces.

She complimented her Malaysian counterpart for his full support to end the insurgency in Thailand’s southern region, adding that Thai and Malaysian officials will continue their collaboration in the peace process.

Mr Najib said Malaysia was willing to facilitate talks between Thai authorities and relevant stakeholders, and hoped that Thursday’s signing of the “general consensus document to launch a dialogue process for peace” will lead to talks with other insurgent groups in the future.

“Malaysia is pleased to serve as the facilitator for these talks, and we will see the negotiations begin with a fortnight,” Mr Najib said, adding that he would like to thank Mr Thaksin Shinawatra for jointly coordinating with both sides which leads negotiations.